2010 Hall of Fame
Aposthumous inductee, Russ Wright is the first Shore Conference coach in history to reach the “Century Club” in which he amassed over 100 career victories. Wright coached Lakewood from 1930-1943 and from 1945-1950, finishing his career with a record of 116-59-18 in 20 seasons.
His teams won three Shore Conference titles in the era before divisions were created, as the Piners took home the first conference title ever awarded in 1936 as well as championships in 1942 and 1943. In the age before the state playoffs were created in 1974, Wright’s teams also were awarded Central Jersey Group II titles by the NJSIAA in 1932, 1936, 1942 and 1943.
Wright was a renowned three-sport coach who also was highly successful in basketball and baseball in addition to football.
Also a posthumous inductee, Arnie Truex was another early pioneer in the Shore Conference who coached at Atlantic Highlands High School and Middletown High School. Truex compiled a career record of 136-63-1 between stints at Atlantic Highlands from 1935-1938 and at Middletown from 1939-1959.
While at Atlantic Highlands, Truex’s teams went 19-20-1 and won a Shore Conference title in 1937, which was the second conference title ever awarded. The bulk of his success came at Middletown, where his teams won a combined 11 titles in his 21 seasons. Known as Leonardo High School back then, what is now Middletown North won Shore Conference championships in 1940, 1942, 1946, and 1948 and Class A titles in 1952 and 1957 after separate divisions were created.
Truex’s teams also took home NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II titles in 1940, 1946, 1948 and 1950 and a Central Jersey Group III title in 1957. Truex was an instrumental figure in getting Shore Conference football started, and his teams went 117-43 during his tenure at Leonardo/Middletown.
Ron Signorino Sr. became a Shore Conference coaching legend thanks to a pair of stints at Toms River South and a 16-year run as the defensive coordinator under legendary former Brick coach Warren Wolf, who was the first member inducted into the SFCF Hall of Fame in 2008.
Signorino grew up in western Pennsylvania and played at Penn State before beginning his coaching career at Toms River High School, which is now Toms River South. Signorino coached at Toms River from 1964-1978 and then came back for a second term from 1997-2000, finishing with a combined record of 109-58-4, including a record of 80-44-4 in his first stint.
His “Hitting Indians’’ won Shore Conference Class A titles in 1968, 1976 and 1978, reached the NJSIAA South Jersey Group IV final in 1976 and won the South Jersey Group IV title with a 16-6 win over Cherry Hill East in 1978. He also was the head coach in what is referred to as the “Greatest Game Ever Played’’ in the Shore Conference, a 14-8 loss to Middletown on Nov. 15, 1969, in which Toms River entered the game on a 19-game winning streak and ranked No. 1 in the state by the Newark Star-Ledger, and Middletown entered at 7-0 and ranked No. 2 in New Jersey.
In 1981, Signorino joined the staff of bitter rival Brick under Wolf and served as the defensive coordinator during a 16-year stint with the Green Dragons, who won NJSIAA South Jersey Group IV titles in 1981, 1982, 1983, and 1989 and a South Jersey Group III title in 1994. Also during that time, Brick won four straight Shore Conference Class A South titles from 1981-84 as well as division championships in 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1996.
In 1997, Signorino returned as the head coach at Toms River South, finishing 29-14 in his second stint with the Indians and leading them to the Class A South title in 1998 as well as three state playoff appearances, including trips to the NJSIAA South Jersey Group III final in 1997 and 1998.
Considered one of the most thorough and prepared coaches in the Shore Conference, Signorino’s teams had a reputation as fiercely physical hitters. He has most recently served as the special teams coordinator at Monsignor Donovan, where his son, Ron Signorino Jr., is the offensive coordinator.
The legendary John Amabile has been a head coach for 48 years, spanning from the 1960s in Jersey City to a one-year stint at Allentown in 2009, and he is most remembered for his highly-successful runs at Wall and Neptune.
Amabile grew up in Jersey City and was a first-team All-State quarterback at St. Peter’s Prep before going on to star at Boston College. He began his coaching career in Jersey City in 1961 and came to the Shore Conference as the head coach at Middletown High School in 1970. His teams went 20-22-3 during his time at Middletown before he became the head coach at Wall from 1977-1984 and had an exceptional run.
His teams went 55-31-2 during his time at Wall, winning the school’s first NJSIAA state sectional titles ever by capturing consecutive Central Jersey Group III championships in 1982 and 1983. During that time, the Crimson Knights had a 33-game winning streak, which is the third-longest in Shore Conference history. They also won four straight Shore Conference Class B South titles from 1981-1984.
Amabile went to Neptune from 1985-2000, piling up a record of 118-43-3 during his time there and winning five division titles and three state titles. The Scarlet Fliers won their first NJSIAA sectional title in school history in 1995 and finished No. 1 in the state after beating Franklin 21-12 in the Central Jersey Group III final. Neptune added a Central Jersey Group II title in 1997 and another Central Jersey Group III crown in 1998, the latter of which is the program’s last state sectional title. Neptune made 11 state playoff appearances in Amabile’s tenure, and its three state sectional titles in program history came under Amabile. The Scarlet Fliers also won five straight Shore Conference Class B North titles from 1994-1998.
Amabile then took his coaching acumen, trademark straw hat and fiery demeanor to St. John Vianney, coaching the Lancers from 2003-2008, finishing with a 21-39 record and leading them to the state playoffs in 2006. He then spent 2009 coaching at Allentown, where the Redbirds went 4-6 and tied the school single-season record for wins before he decided to step down after the season.
Since coming to the Shore, Amabile has compiled a career record of 218-141-8, joining Brick/Lakewood’s Warren Wolf, the late Vic Kubu of Manasquan and Middletown North fame, Lacey’s Lou Vircillo and Keyport’s Mike Ciccotelli as coaches who have 200 or more career wins that were all amassed while coaching in the Shore Conference.
Longtime Asbury Park Press staff writer Tony Graham was also inducted, making him the first non-coach honored by the SFCF. Graham has been covering Shore Conference high school football since 1969 after beginning his career on the radio at WJLK. A lifelong Philadelphia Phillies fan, Graham used to take his vacation down in Philadelphia and one day inquired if he could cover the team for the Asbury Park Press while he was down there. They obliged and the rest is history. Graham has since covered countless football games and nearly every All-Shore Classic, writing stories about the kids of today years after he wrote stories about their fathers.